Tourism Lecturer determines customers’ value of a Hervey Bay whale watching experience09 February 2016

UQ Business School Tourism and Events Lecturer Dr Aaron Tkaczynski conducted an in-depth on-site study of Hervey Bay’s whale watching attractions in an effort to determine the value whale watching provided for customers.

Dr Tkaczynski collected more than 1000 surveys from customers across a number of different sized whale watching vessels during the high and low seasonal periods.

Whilst participants varied considerably in their country of origin and demographic characteristics, Dr Tkaczynski found that customers rated their interest in whale watching extremely high and were very satisfied with their Hervey Bay experience.

“I think what was surprising was that the quality of the services provided by the operators was actually ranked higher than the experience itself”.

“The value of a Hervey Bay whale watching experience was noted with customers arguing that this location and the operators provided a visually appealing, physically safe, authentic and exciting experience,” he said.

Unofficially known as the ‘whale watching capital of Australia’, Hervey Bay’s unique whale watching experience continues to draw local residents, domestic tourists and international visitors.

International tourists from countries such as Britain and Germany were thrilled with their experience and planned to tell their friends back at home about the quality of the experience when they went home.

Overall, Dr Tkaczynski concluded that Hervey Bay whale watching provided a very emotional and engaging experience that could be enjoyed by people from all age groups and cultural backgrounds, and that service operators should be commended for their efforts in enhancing the experience.

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